Cathy Donnelly

Cathy Donnelly's Blog 


FORAGING FOR RAMPS ETC

No, not turnpike on-ramps. 

These ramps are also known as wild leeks, and they’re supposedly delicious and very very good for you.  RIGHT NOW is the season for them, they’re one of the first things (along with fiddleheads…more about them later) that you can forage for this early in the spring.
They are part of the onion/garlic family, but are renowned for being pungent as hell.  In fact if you eat enough (which isn’t very many) and wait around you (and your loved ones, no doubt) will be able to smell the odor coming right out of your pores
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They are found in forested areas all over the Northeastern part of the US.  They like shady and sandy soil, often near rivers or streams.  Some sources say they grow on the north side of embankments or hills in the woods, in small clumps.  They’re very popular in Appalachia, in fact my best friend, who has lived in West Virginia nearly 30 years, was the person who turned me on to them.

Unfortunately I don’t have any on my property, and believe me I check thoroughly every year.  This year I even asked the Ex if I could check his land, since he has a lot more acreage.  He was kind enough to let me, but no ramps, at least not where I looked.
Ramps look a lot like lily-of-the-valley, at least from the ground up, but underground they look a lot like scallions.  They’re not real easy to dig up, either, which is why you have to bring a garden trowel or small shovel.  When you dig don’t take them all, so that they can continue to grow where they are.  You have to eat them almost right away since they don’t keep well even in the fridge. Use them wherever you’d use onion or garlic, but keep in mind they’re a lot stronger.
If and when I ever find any, I have a whole bunch of north-facing slopes on my property, and they’re kind of wooded, so I’ll be planting as well as eating!

Now on to fiddleheads.  I DO have a few of them on my property. They're just the furled fronds of the "ostrich" ferns you see in all wooded areas in NePa.  Left on the plant they'd unroll into large fern leaves.  You have to pick them when they're really small though, because they get bitter almost immediately.  But in this baby state they have a delicate asparagus-like flavor.  Just make sure you cook 'em all the way through.






So ANYBODY who knows where there are some ramps, please reply to this post!  Or just email me, click on "Hosts" then you'll see my little bio, there's a box to email me there.




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Locations : West Virginia




 
04/23/2013 9:54PM
FORAGING FOR RAMPS ETC
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